Church of England Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham Blidworth

About Us

Dating from 1739, this church features a monument to Thomas Leake, a 16th-century Forest Ranger, and is the site where Robin Hood's friend and nephew, Will Scarlet, is said to be buried.

The Church of St Mary of the Purification is the only church that is known to continue to hold an annual Rocking Ceremony during which a baby boy, born nearest to Christmas Day and having married, Christian parents living in Blidworth, is “rocked” in a cradle on the Feast of the Purification of Mary, which is on the Sunday nearest to Candlemas.

The ceremony is a symbolic enactment of the story from the Bible found in Luke's gospel, depicting the Presentation of Christ at a temple. It is thought to have started in the 13th century, but was banned from 1600.The custom was revived in 1842 by the vicar, John Lowndes but then fell out of use. It was revived again in 1922, and has been using the same cradle since then.

All of the babies who have taken part in the Rocking Ceremonies have their names recorded upon a plaque at the rear of St Mary's Church with their full name and the year in which they were 'Rocked'. In 2010 a sculpture of a cradle was made to celebrate the custom.

We are part of a united Benefice with St Simon and St Jude's in Rainworth and St Andrews Mission Hall in Blidworth